Much more time has passed than I’ve realized. Sorry ’bout that. Things got a bit crazy. Okay, yeah, things are always crazy, but this was a bit beyond the norm.
I was laid off at the end of October due to funding cuts, and things have been a roller coaster since then. I’d like to get my own website business going, but the main thing I’ve learned in this process is that nothing brings out the deep-seated feelings of inadequacy like trying to be self-employed. The internal chorus of, “Who do you think you are??” can be deafening at times.
Part of the problem is, of course, that this is my second lay-off in 5 years. I worked for 25 years without a problem. Now I have a Master’s degree and I’ve spent more time unemployed since graduating than I ever did before. What happened to all the bright and shiny promises of advancement and opportunity that I heard before I took the degree? From where I’m sitting, it’s more like it’s made me unemployable. The confusion caused by being told, essentially, “You’ve been a great asset to us and your work is stellar; here’s you pink slip.” really plays havoc with self-esteem, too. It leaves me wondering if everything I’ve believed is false. Can I trust my own perceptions any more? Is there any practical value in my own judgements?
On the plus side, I’ve had lots of time for cleaning. I’m slowly making progress throughout the house. Well, at least throughout the main floor. The path in the studio is wider and better defined. I’ve gained between 2-3 feet of horizontal space in the living room, and any day now I’ll have cleared enough out of the kitchen to be able to open the oven door without obstruction.
I tried a new way of tracking progress that seems to be working very well. I calculated that 100 hours of work came out to 6000 minutes, then I wrote the number 6000 on a whiteboard in the hall. Every time I do something, no matter how big or how small, I subtract the corresponding number of minutes from the total. Since the end of February I’ve got the number down to 5809. Even if I can’t see progress in the house around me, I can see progress in those little purple numbers on the wall, and that’s enough. It’s amazing how rewarding it can be to erase the old number and write up the new one.
Some days it’s the small victories that matter the most.